Thirty years ago, Professors Raymond McNally and Radu Florescu co-wrote In Search of Dracula, a successful popular study of Bram Stoker's novel and of the history, geography, and folklore of Prince Vlad Dracula, the model for count Dracula. This work was followed by Florescu's In Search of Frankenstein, a study of Mary Shelly's classic novel and its literary, historical, and scientific background.
Now McNally and Florescu complete the trilogy of commentaries on horror classics with In Search of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In this fascinating, well-researched narrative, the authors outline the history of William Deacon Brodie, a successful Edinburgh tradesman who, by night, had a second life as a thief and carouser. Brodie, who ultimately hanged for his crimes-despite a near-successful escape and an ingenious scheme to cheat the gallows-fascinated Robert Louis Stevenson, who heard the story from his childhood nurse. Stevenson, only a modestly successful author, his output limited by chronic lung problems. But following a nightmare he wrote the "penny-dreadful" novella, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, in 1885. The work was immensely successful, making Stevenson an international literary celebrity, ultimately earning the author and his heirs a small fortune.
Though Stevenson remains renowned for poetry and adventure yarns like Treasure Island and Kidnapped, he never lost his fascination with Brodie and wrote three versions of a stage play about his life.
McNally and Florescu show how the power of the little book revealed Stevenson's own sense of darkness, related to other major works of its time, and touched on new discoveries about the unconscious, psychosis, and narcotics.
In Search of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde also details the profound effect the story has had on popular culture, discussing adaptations for stage and screen (recent versions of the Jekyll and Hyde theme appear in the Julia Roberts/John Malkovich film Mary Reilly, in a 1999 Broadway hit musical, and in Eddie Murphy's Nutty Professor character spin-offs.)
McNally and Florescu also give detailed travel notes for visitors to Edinburgh, Amsterdam, and Bournemouth, England, who wish to see the original locales of the terrifying and profoundly moving story about the medical researcher, Dr. Jekyll, his evil alter ego, Mr. Hyde, and the real-life figure who was the model for both.